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How Long Does Car Paint Take to Dry?


You take your car to the paint booth and pay the crew after choosing what color and type of paint you want. Of course, you are excited to get your car back in new paint. But here’s the pain point: how long does car paint take to dry?

The answer depends on what type of paint you use on your car. No doubt, there are various types of paints and coatings that you apply to your car. If you know about the composition and thickness of each, you’ll be able to make the right decision.

This is why I have come up with this post. Give it a good read.

How Long Will it Take for Car Paint to Dry?

Two major factors decide the drying time of your car’s new paint.

  • Composition
  • Thickness

We’ll cover the composition and thickness of car paint used by the paint booths in this detailed post. Make sure you note down all the key details to avoid messing up the new car paint.


Why Knowing the Paint Dry Time is Important?

You already know the cost of new car paint. No doubt, the cost varies with the quality of paint you want to choose for your car. But knowing the cost of car paint is not enough. You should be familiar with everything related to car paint.

Now, the paint drying time is an important factor. If you don’t know when your car’s paint will dry completely, you might damage it.

Therefore, you must wait until the paint completely dries off and passes the curing phase. Only then can you wash your car with water spray or hit the road.

Before going into the details of the different paint compositions, let’s understand the difference between drying and curing time.

Drying vs. Curing Phase

There are two phases that take place one after the other. Once you are done painting your car, you should wait till the paint passes both phases.

Drying Phase

First is the drying phase.

It’s a condition in which the surface of the new paint feels dry. However, you will feel a bit of softness on the surface on touching it properly. That means the paint’s solvents have evaporated, which makes you feel the dryness of the paint.

This phase occurs immediately after the painting.

Curing Phase

On the other hand, the paint curing phase starts after the drying phase. That softness you feel on the surface even after the dryness has dominated that’s because of the paint curing.

Curing automatically occurs, which hardens the paint on the car’s surface. In addition, it takes more time than the drying phase as the paint must completely remove the moisture.

You can now hit the road after the curing phase without worrying about damaging the car’s new paint. On top of that, you can wash your car using water spray.

Now, let’s talk about the different types of paints with their drying times.

Types of Car Paints with Drying & Curing Times

You get a variety of options for your car paint. Each paint is unique from the other in terms of color quality, thickness, cost, drying, and curing time. The quality of the depends on the composition of chemicals used in particular car paint.

Acrylic Enamel

Acrylic enamel paints are the most common ones when it comes to customers’ choices. That’s right.

If you have no experience in car painting, you can go for acrylic enamel paint. It’s the easiest one which is also budget-friendly. You get a hard shell on the surface of the car with a glossy finish as well.

Moreover, acrylic paint comes in two variants:

  • Single-Stage Enamel
  • Two-Stage Enamel

Single-Stage Enamel

In this variant, acrylic paint doesn’t require a clear topcoat. Plus, the drying time of the single-stage acrylic enamel paint is 1-6 hours, with 24 hours for curing.

Two-Stage Enamel

This variant needs a clear top coat to finish painting. Moreover, you will have to wait for at least hours as drying time and at least 48 hours as the curing phase.


Acrylic Lacquer

If you don’t want to wait more for your car’s paint to dry off, go for the acrylic lacquer type. It’s a variant of the original painting medium known as lacquer.

This paint gives your car a glossy texture, making it look more sparkling. Additionally, you can put another coat on the acrylic lacquer car paint if you want.

The drying time of this paint is 1 hour. But if you add up another layer, of course, the dry time will increase. This is because you will have to wait longer till all the moisture of the additional layer dries off.

Plus, it will pass the curing phase in 24 hours.

If you are low on patience, acrylic lacquer paint is the most suitable option.


You must have seen the popularity of urethane car paints. It’s the most famous type of paint used on vehicles.

But why is urethane car paint so popular?

The durability factor of this paint is why car owners love it. This paint is not going to fade that easily. So your money on urethane car paint will give you more than you expect.

However, you have to wait for at least 4 hours till it gets completely dry. But the wait is worth it.

Acrylic Urethane

The acrylic urethane car paint is famous for its weathering properties. This paint uses water-based gloss with a two-component coating.

Moreover, don’t get confused that it’s the same as only urethane paint. You might not feel the difference in both qualities. But the drying time proves that both paints are different.

Acrylic urethane needs 1 hour to dry and almost a day to pass the curing phase.

Check out the House of Kolor acrylic urethane car paint.

Spray Painting

The most cost-efficient paint you can have for your car!

Spray painting is an easy solution if you are planning to color up your car on your own. Moreover, it doesn’t only save money but time as well.

One of the drawbacks of spray paints is they are not durable comparatively. Since the newer technology paints are easily available, it’s better not to choose spray paint for your car.

In case you want to try something new with your car, just add some enamel to the bottle and show your creativity.

Spray painting is simple, and that’s why customers love it. Moreover, it takes only 20-40 minutes to dry off and 5 hours of curing time.

Now, if you are wondering how to quicken the car paint drying process, there are a few methods available. However, that might need a whole new setup that’s only available at paint booths or professional car painters.

Here’s the Dupli-Color Premium acrylic enamel spray paint for your car.

How to Quickly Dry a Car’s Paint?

As you have seen the variation in the drying and curing phase, car painting is no doubt a time-consuming process. You have to invest at least a day if you are visiting a paint booth. But it will take more than a day if you wanna DIY at home.

Now, painting a car is easy. You can find the required accessories from any automobile store. But how are you going to hasten the drying process?

Professionals and car paint booths have a special temperature-controlled garage. They increase the temperature of the room so that the paint dries off faster.

Even some professionals bake the paint on the car. However, that process is not recommended because you might damage the newly coated paint on your car if you are new to this.

So, let’s learn a few techniques to quickly dry off the car painting.

Use a Thin Layer

That’s right. Not only in car painting, but the thin coating layer takes less time to dry off. But your curiosity about the durability of a thin layer of car paint is legit.

Therefore, always use a solvent while applying the thin-layered paint. That’s not going to affect the quality of the car paint. Instead, that solvent will keep the quality of the paint intact and will reduce the drying time.


Good Ventilation

After painting your car, make sure that the place where your car is has good ventilation. The purpose of ventilation is to let the paint get rid of the moisture.

If there’s no ventilation, the paint will take more time to dry off. Therefore, always check the ventilation spots whether they are clear.

Besides, you can deploy fans to enhance ventilation in the garage where your car is waiting to be dried off completely.

Now that your car’s paint has dried off completely, you can travel without any worry of damaging the new paint.


Usually, car paint takes 1 – 8 hours on average to dry off. After that, the curing phase begins, requiring at least 24 hours.

The drying and curing times depend on the type of paints you are using. High-end car paints give you top-quality results regarding paint’s durability and resilience against harsh conditions. Moreover, these paints also dry off quickly.

But if you want to stay within budget, follow the techniques on how to hasten the car paint drying process.

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